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Women hold 40% of seats on boards in Europe’s financial sector

March 27, 2023

European financial services companies are making progress, albeit slowly, in the gender diversity pillar. According to the latest EY European Financial Services Boardroom Monitor, the largest financial firms are taking proactive steps to increase female representation and enhance their sustainability expertise at the boardroom level. The data reveals that women account for just over 40% of board seats, up from 37% when the same survey was first completed in June/22. 

The report also shows that 44% of European financial services investors state that gender diversity in the boardroom significantly influences their decision to invest in a financial services company, compared to just 16% who say it does not influence their decision at all. Therefore, the financial services firms are responding to investor expectations, and 50% of board appointments over the last year were female. Of board appointments made the year prior, 58% were male and 42% were female.

“Across Europe, boards and company management are taking clear steps to increase diversity across a range of measures. Achieving greater gender balance and ensuring that boardrooms reflect the diversity of the customers and societies they serve is a work in progress, but leaders across the financial sector are driving change. Progressive businesses are anticipating regulation, and view diversity as a strategic priority, understanding that more diverse views, backgrounds and experience play a role in identifying and responding to risks, and ultimately create more effective boards.”, Omar Ali, EY EMEIA Financial Services Managing Partner, comments.

According to the data released, gender diversity is highest across bank and insurance boards – where 43% of board members are female and 57% male, but it is lowest among boards at wealth and asset management firms – where the gender split stands at 40% female and 60% male, although, this is still in scope of incoming European gender diversity regulation (June 2026).

“Banks stand to gain tangible benefits from greater diversity in their workforce, management and financing activities; the EBF will continue to take an important role in helping more European banks to embark on and advance in their diversity journeys.”, Wim Mijs, European Banking Federation (EBF) Chief Executive Officer, adds.

Source: Financial Times | EY